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Spear Fishing | An Apocalyptic Man Skill

Spear Fishing | An Apocalyptic Man Skill

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spear fishingA couple years ago I got my PADI scuba license because when I vacation overseas I’d like to be able to rent some quality equipment and go scuba diving. I haven’t gone overseas yet but the day will come. Spear Fishing is another skill I’d like to master. I’m a little hesitant because I know I can’t hold my breath very long and I know once underwater it’ll be even tougher. Some spear fishing video’s you can view online usually have them holding their breaths for 2 – 4 minutes because of the patience required by one when underwater while waiting for the right fish to swim by. Yep, that means you can’t chase them because they are faster. Faster than Michael Phelps too! So you have to wait for them to swim on by.

One of my friends goes spear fishing off the San Diego coast so it’ll probably be next year when I take it up. Last month I went to Catalina Island for some snorkeling and couldn’t believe how many fish there were. Couple weeks ago I went deep sea fishing and caught two halibut and ended up having to throw both back in because they were too small by California regulation. Spear fishing seems like the next logical step in my underwater adventure and this way I’ll get to keep the fish….If I catch any.

Spearfishing has been around as long as people have been trying to catch fish. Currently there are two different ways: above water from a rock or boat and underwater near the surface or deep down. In ancient times, spear fishermen used sharpened sticks to spear the fish. Today, they use spear guns powered by elastic bands or gas cartridges. Spear fishing can be done underwater like scuba diving, snorkeling or free diving, but there are many who spearfish from above the water as well because it is more challenging or it’s the tradition of their village passed on through generations.

Above Water:Spear Fishing off Rock

In the case of spearfishing from above the water, fishermen must learn how to compensate for the refraction of light. This refraction makes fish appear to be higher in the water than they actually are, making it much more difficult to score a hit. With practice, a spear fisherman learns to compensate and aim lower than the fish appears to be in order to hit the target. Most spear fishing from above water is off a rock or boat. You can either throw your spear or jump into the water while holding on to your spear. I also suspect you’ll need forearms like Popeye and biceps like Hercules. At least this is what I’ll tell myself when it doesn’t work for me.


Underwater if you go with the snorkeling option you’ll have to be able to swim and hold your breath for a long time. Doesn’t matter how fancy your fins are or how perfect your aim is. You have to be able to stay still and move slowly kind of like a lion or cheetah hunting their prey. Fish are fast…freakin fast! I tried to chase one in Catalina and all I caught was kelp. If we could hear fishes laughing I would’ve needed ear plugs to leave with some pride left.

If you go with the scuba diving option then you won’t have to worry about air, at least for an hour or two, but you will still need some skill cause you won’t be swimming any faster. For those of you who have seen Water World there’s always that option where you use yourself as bait.

Local Laws:

You must be sure to check local fishing laws where you will be spear fishing because in some countries and localities, spear fishing is illegal when you are using mechanically powered spear guns. Other restrictions may include the prohibition of spear fishing while scuba diving as well. Never go fishing in a new area until you are familiar with the local rules, or you could end up in a lot of trouble. In San Diego you need to have a fishing license. Doesn’t matter if it’s with a pole or spear fishing.


The sport is without a doubt, a lot of fun, but it is also dangerous. Great care must be taken to ensure the safety of not only yourself, but others who may be in the area as well. The safety rules are really common sense, but it is important that you remember each one, and think before you act.

For instance:

1. Never fire a spear gun in the direction of another person. This means you should have a battle buddy.
2. Never use a spear gun without proper training.
3. Choose quality equipment to use while spear fishing.
4. Be sure to properly flag the area where you are diving/fishing.


Be Equipped:

If you want to go spearfishing, be sure that you get quality equipment. Equipment failure can be dangerous and cause serious injury. A basic list of equipment you will need to go spearfishing includes the following:

1. MaskSpear Fishing
2. Snorkel
3. Fins
4. Wetsuit
5. Booties
6. Gloves
7. Weight belt
8. Knife
9. Compass (If you start 1 meter off after 100 meters you’ll be way off your destination. When underwater it’s not like you can see the horizon)
10. Spearguns

The foregoing list might vary slightly depending on how you are going to fish. For instance, if you are not going to go spear fishing while snorkeling, then you will need scuba equipment. However, as previously mentioned, depending on where you are actually going to be spear fishing, scuba diving might not be permitted.


  1. What a crazy and awesome idea. I’ve seen people do this in movies but it’s never occurred to me to try it on my own! I love the idea of spear fishing underwater…what a badass move.

  2. Great and interesting article!

    I agree, The toughest part for me as well would be to hold my breath for large amounts of time. However, I am sure this is something that can be conditioned with practice. Good luck!

    • Thanks dude! I’m hoping I can increase holding my breath by next year.

    • My friend and anyone else reading this, I feel the need to caution u on conditioning to hold your breath. You will see many people (some of them even seasoned pros) doing a period of quick breaths/ hyperventilation right before they dive. THIS IS NOT A CORRECT WAY TO INCREASE YOUR BREATH HOLD. I this dose not give u more air it only tricks your body into thinking u have more air and represses the urge to get oxygen longer, this will cause SWB or shallow water black out. it is when you got to the bottom for to long a time and as you ascend between 15ft and the surface you are at risk of blacking out. the best way to do condition is to breath deep and slowly and dive repeatedly it is a slow but real progress to getting better bottom time. Hope this helps, good hunting mate 🙂

  3. Bad choice for the first pic. Sharks are endangered species an any sea lover would like to protect them not to kill them. Never heard about anti fins soup campaign? Read about it.

    If we want to be still able to fish in few years from now we must protect endangered species like sharks and so many other species disappearing, threatening the fragile environmental balance of oceans.

    All my spearfising friends are sea lovers first; fish hunters second. If any of us had choice between sea without guns or without fishes would prefer without guns, But with a lot of fishes and some guns it great!

    • That’s a good point that we need to protect the marine life. But fishing will always be a part of life and not all sharks are endangered species. There’s a difference between game fishing and bringing home dinner. The featured pic isn’t promoting killing sharks but is actually a shot from a true story.

    • Screw the sharks). Endangered species my ass. Hundreds of them on any day at Florida coast. One lost human life values more than all sharks int the ocean

      • I don’t think going to the opposite extreme is also wise. Human life certainly is more important but we are also supposed to maintain the earth and animals. It’s about being responsible and not reckless in our decision making process and actions.

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